FH: Barry was a good guy. He was my favorite counselor. I remember he wore black leather pants.
SF: He was the only staff member there that I respected, besides some of the nurses…
SF: …So you came into Barry’s office, high and crying about your dog being missing, and sometime after that Barry saw your public access show on TV. He knew nothing about punk rock and at first I thought he had to be talking about George Tabb’s Destroy Television. This is going to sound horrible, but I had met so many scumbags at the clinic that when Barry told me about the show and that you were into punk, only then did I decide to talk to you. I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. A few days later you brought in a video of the show and I loved it. I was like, Quelle Surprise! This girl could be interesting.
FH: My dog was never really missing, he was just hiding in the closet…
SF: And seeing the public access show and your talent just made me want to kill that Tommy guy more. I mean, cognitively, I knew he wasn’t to blame for your problems. I’ve been blamed for other people’s problems and I knew it wasn’t fair, but it was so obvious to anyone watching that if you were in your right mind you would not have been with him at all. How old were you? Twenty-two, twenty-three? He was at least fifty, maybe 60, and he wore green acid- washed jeans!
FH: Then I saw you at the Suckdog show at Acme Underground.
SF: Are you trying to change the subject?
FH: It makes me uncomfortable. It’s like talking about another person, another person who is doing terrible, horrible things to themselves. Especially when it comes to that guy, Tommy.
SF: I think it’s important. It’s a definite low. But at the same time, one of the things that was so endearing about you was that as you went through so much of it…well, you didn’t wear it. That’s why I think the opening quote of your book is so perfect. I remember doing paperwork with you and you going on and on about that scumbag and how he had gone to the same high school as Jim Carroll, as if hallway proximity to Jim Carroll gave him some kind of fucking creditability! I remember you trying to convince me that he was a regular guy, that you and he had a regular relationship, that you two were going to the movies that afternoon. And as soon as you said "movies" I knew that that dirtbag had gotten the free movie passes that we gave to any client at the clinic who agreed to take an AIDS test first…
© Fiona Helmsley